Choros by Domingo Semenzato (1908 – 1993)


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Domingos Semenzato, Brazilian composer and guitarist (1908-1993), began his musical activity as a member of chôros groups playing the guitar and the cavaquinho (a small stringed instrument similar to the Canarian timple). Later, he perfected his classical guitar studies in Sao Paulo, becoming a great soloist.

As an author, we know him, above all, for his Divagando chôros, a beautiful piece that contains all the characteristics of this popular Brazilian style.

Choro ("cry" or "lament"), also popularly called chorinho ("little cry" or "little lament"), is an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre which originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. Despite its name, the music often has a fast and happy rhythm. It is characterized by virtuosity, improvisation and subtle modulations, and is full of syncopation and counterpoint. Choro is considered the first characteristically Brazilian genre of urban popular music. The serenaders who play choros are known as chorões.

Originally choro was played by a trio of flute, guitar and cavaquinho (a small chordophone with four strings). Other instruments commonly played in choro are the mandolin, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. These melody instruments are backed by a rhythm section composed of 6-string guitar, 7-string guitar (playing bass lines) and light percussion, such as a pandeiro. The cavaquinho appears sometimes as a melody instrument, other times as part of the rhythm.

The piece is selected as one of RCM (The Royal Conservatory of Music) level 4 repertoire.